Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM





The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) Ogun state chapter salutes and solidarises with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the long suffering workers in Ogun state on the ongoing strike action. We join the workers to demand the immediate payment of all deductions and emoluments to the workers without delay, and equally demand that government meets other demands without further ado.

We also reject “No work, no pay” draconian policy of the government as its response to the legitimate demands of workers. We urge workers to resist this attempt to intimidate them.

We note the current strike which has been commenced since March 6, 2016 was declared after all attempts to make government honor agreements it has signed with workers, some dated back to 2012, failed. Appeals, meetings, letters, ultimatums – and even threats of strike could not even force the government to do meet the legitimate demands of workers. Hence, the strike!

We also recall that Governor Ibikunla Amosun signed an agreement to commence the payment of 7.5% salary increment made by former governor Gbenga Daniel in 2011. He however appealed to be allowed to commence payment of the said increment in 2012, which the workers agreed. Till date, the government has refused to honor its words and letter.

For about 67 months, the successive state governments of Gbenga Daniel and Ibikunle Amosun have not remitted their shares of the contributory pension fund of the workers totaling about N 30 billion. Annoyingly, the government has failed to explain the where about of the monies. In other words, the retirement benefits of the workers’ have been misappropriated, something that is a threat to workers’ lives after retirement.

The government has also made deductions for workers’ cooperatives for a period of 7months running, which it has failed to remit.

Staying true to its character as anti-poor and workers’ government, the bailout funds released by the federal government to local government councils in Ogun state were withheld. These funds amount to N9.1 billion. The governor claimed that the monies have been expended on projects – the sites of which are known only to the governors and his officials. This has led to the inability of the local councils to pay salaries and allowances running to several months.

The state government, not contented with misappropriation of the state resources, has also deducted 7 months dues from the workers without remitting same to the union purse. The various unions can no longer meet responsibilities to their members. These attacks are not limited to active civil servants. The state retirees are not paid their gratuities, only pensions are paid piece meal.

The government that owes workers and pensioners has recently embarked on spending spree under the pretext of organizing the funeral ceremonies of Mama HID Awolowo, wife of Obafemi Awolowo, which gulped where several millions of naira. Another round of millions of Naira was also spent to host President Muhammadu Buhari under the guise of commissioning projects, and marking 40th anniversary of the creation of Ogun state. These projects, whose contract sums reportedly were inflated, were reportedly awarded to front companies belonging to government officials or where they have vested interests.

From the foregoing, it is clear that the government cannot keep its promise in relations to workers’ demands without being forced by struggles. The NLC and TUC must therefore be prepared to carry through with this present strike till their demands are met.

The labour leadership must ensure that in all its dealings with the government on the current strike action that workers are carried along through democratic processes like congresses and mass meetings. Labour leadership must continue to ensure that this strike is not reduced to a stay-at-home action. Rather they should organise public activities like protest marches, rallies, symposia, picketing, leafleting and other political actions to give information and mobilise support for the strike. This would help sustain the resolve of workers until the struggle is won and also win the mass support of the general public for the strike, thereby forestalling the successful blackmailing of workers by the government

Above all, this struggle should equally be linked with the need to build a mass working class political alternative party to contest for power. Such party through its democratic management and control of the resources would bring to end these mass miseries occasioned by the anti-poor policies of all the capitalist political parties in Nigeria including APC and PDP, which have triggered this strike action in the first place. The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) formed by DSM members with other labour, youth and socialist activists represents a step in this direction. We therefore urge the workers and the generality of the suffering masses to join DSM and SPN.

Eko John Nicholas
DSM Ogun State Chapter